《BRAN-NEW ! + A Contemporary Young Adult Fiction About Discovering Own Superpowers, Deciding How To Use Them, & Where To Draw The Line》Laurent Linn - DRAW THE LINE :
After a hate crime occurs in his small Texas town, Adrian Piper must discover his own power, decide how to use it, and know where to draw the line in this “powerful debut” novel ( Publishers Weekly, starred review) exquisitely illustrated by the author. Adrian Piper is used to blending into the background. He may be a talented artist, a sci-fi geek, and gay, but at his Texas high school those traits would only bring him the worst kind of attention. In fact, the only place he feels free to express himself is at his drawing table, crafting a secret world through his own Renaissance-art-inspired superhero, Graphite. But in real life, when a shocking hate crime flips his world upside down, Adrian must decide what kind of person he wants to be. Maybe it’s time to not be so invisible after all—no matter how dangerous the risk. Adrian is gay and perfectly content to blend into the background at his stereotypically conservative Texas high school. He prefers to escape into the world of his Renaissance-inspired art and his superhero creation, Graphite. But when he intervenes during the brutal beating of another gay student, he draws unwanted attention to himself. No longer in the background, Adrian must decide whether he (and Graphite) should stand for something more than solitude and invisibility. Laurent Linn’s debut novel is less “coming out” and more “coming-of-age,” as it asks compelling questions about responsibility, retaliation and integrity. Adrian’s two sidekicks, the drastically different Audrey and Trent, are well-rounded characters who support and challenge Adrian in equal measure. The text is interspersed with beautiful snippets of the Graphite comic, drawn by the author, and a believable budding romance lends lightness to the otherwise violent plot. Despite the novel’s length, the story unfolds over just a few weeks, which underscores how quickly and drastically circumstances can change, an especially important message for young readers. Draw the Line does leave a few loose ends untied, but readers will appreciate the happy place Adrian finds himself in at the story’s conclusion and the admirable choices he made to get there. This book tells a great story about a closeted gay teen, the importance of community, and the power of art to communicate, to destroy, and to heal. Draw the Line is about Adrian, a gay teen who lives in a small town in Texas. Adrian is devoted to keeping a low profile, even to the point of wearing drab colors to avoid notice. He writes and draws a web comic about a superhero named Graphite, but he only posts anonymously. Adrian’s two best friends are a young Black woman named Audrey who feels self-conscious about her weight and her race, and Trent, an asexual Goth kid whose mother struggles with alcoholism and mental illness. Adrian’s high school has only one gay student who is out (his name is Kobe). One night a few members of the football team, led by one particular bully, badly beat Kobe in front of a crowd of onlookers. Adrian is the only one who intervenes. This action gradually changes Adrian’s relationships with his friends, his fellow students, and even the bully who attacked Kobe. Adrian goes through a lot of false starts in trying to figure out how to get justice for Kobe (who survives but is badly injured and deeply depressed). In the course of things, Adrian acts like a teen. He gets mad at his friends who have polar opposite ways of trying to help (Audrey compiles action plans while Trent tells Adrian to go back to keeping a low profile). He comes up with overly complicated secret plots. What’s so cool about his arc is watching him learn to accept other people as part of his life, and the decisions he makes about using his art to either help or hurt. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- KIRKUS REVIEW : At the risk of revealing his closeted sexuality and artistic talent, a Texas wallflower combats small minds. Adrian Piper dresses to hide. Innocuous palette, faded jeans, a hoodie: disappearing = safety at Rock Hollow High, where Bubbas with a penchant for pickups and longnecks are the dominant species. Adrian’s escape from aggressive heteronormativity is “the feel of a 3B pencil skimming across the paper’s surface.” The result of said skimming: a gay superhero named Graphite with a flair for Renaissance couture and a longing for love. (Adrian’s artwork as drawn by Linn peppers the pages.) Outside of artwork, Adrian finds comfort in two close friends, outspoken Audrey and goth Trent (both know Adrian’s secrets). When outwardly gay and not-so-invisible Kobe is brutally attacked by a brutish football star, Adrian risks exposing his own identity to intervene. Identifying as LGBTQ can force accelerated maturity: allegiances shift, social repercussions abound, and the hopeful search for others like you begins. All of these waves of evolution are braved as Adrian morphs from timid shadow to burgeoning Norma Rae. A diverse landscape (white, black, Protestant, Jewish, plus-size, skinny, middle class, wealthy) is robust rather than a flat reaction to pleads for diversity. A definite draw for comic-book fans, it will resonate with anyone struggling with a concealed or revealed identity. More defiant than its superhero’s diaphanous costume portends. Bravo. About the Author Laurent Linn’s love for puppets led him to become an Emmy Award–winning puppet designer and builder in Jim Henson’s Muppet Workshop, creating characters for various productions, including the Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island films, eventually becoming creative director for the Sesame Street Muppets. Originally from Dallas, Texas, his love for art led him to New York City where he is currently an art director/designer for children’s and teen books. And his love for transformative stories (and superheroes) led him to write and illustrate Draw the Line, his first novel.
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